Fleet Feet Plans 100 Stores by 2008

JANUARY 18, 2006 -- With 67 stores in 32 states, Fleet Feet Sports is back on the expansion trail after 18 months of focusing on back-end systems, including a state-of-the-art POS system and just-launched corporate Extranet. By '08, president Jeff Phillips said Fleet Feet will have 100 stores open, as it focused on new target markets and work toward 15% or more annual sales growth

Following a record-setting year, Fleet Feet is holding its Winter Franchisee Conference in Houston this week. With '05 bringing 22% overall sales growth and 14% comp-store sales increases, COB/CEO Tom Raynor and Phillips were understandably exuberant as they met with industry press to review the year and discuss upcoming plans.

In the closed-mouth world of sporting goods retail, Fleet Feet's candor and willingness to share details of their business are unusual and enlightening. For instance, they provided details on vendor performance in '05:

Top '05 Footwear Brands
1. Asics (up 45.4%);
2. Brooks (up 27.1%);
3. New Balance (up 13.1%);
4. Mizuno (up 30.3%);
5. Nike (down 15.3%);
6. Saucony (flat);
7. Adidas (down 11.5%).

"If this were a race," Phillips said, "Asics and Brooks would be separating themselves from the pack, while Mizuno is picking up momentum."

Since '03, he added, no single brand has represented more than 20% of Fleet Feet's footwear business. While Nike was once 50% of the market, today "there's more instability than we've seen in the past," he added. In five years, Raynor said, "I don't expect Nike will be in this channel [specialty running]."

In the apparel category, Nike is king, though:

Top '05 Apparel Brands
1. Nike (up 22.1%);
2. Brooks (up 40.2%);
3. Hind (down 5.4%);
4. Sugoi (up 5.3%);
5. Moving Comfort (up 57.8%);
6. Adidas (down 16.8%);
7. Asics (up 64.2%).

At last night's Awards Banquet, Phillips presented Moving Comfort president Ellen Wessel with the Apparel Vendor of the Year Award, in particular noting that firm's role in the success of the Bra FIT Process.

Overall, Asics has the largest share of Fleet Feet’s business, followed by Brooks:

Footwear/Apparel Marketshare
1. Asics 24.9%;
2. Brooks 19.7%;
3. Nike 13.6%;
4. Saucony/Hind 11.2%;
5. New Balance 11.2%;
6. Adidas 9.4%.


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